Leaders oppose Uhuru’s plan to lift ban on Mau

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By GEORGE SAYAGIE
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Opposition leaders in Narok have protested government plans to lift the more than 10 years old caveat on Mau Forest and are threatening mass action if the plan is not shelved.

The lifting of the caveat was among the campaign goodies that President Uhuru Kenyatta delivered to Narok residents during his campaign in Narok on Tuesday.

He was accompanied by his deputy William Ruto.

CAMPAIGN
The President and his deputy visited Narok as the hunt for the Maasai votes between the government and the opposition intensified ahead of the General Election now four weeks away.

Their campaign visit came two weeks after the National Super Alliance (Nasa) made a two-day campaign tour in the region two weeks ago.

Addressing his supporters in Olmekenyu, Narok South, which is one of the areas that were earmarked for evictions, the President said no one would be evicted from the Maasai Mau forest land.

EVICTIONS
He said the government had lifted the caveat placed on the land in 2005 by President Mwai Kibaki’s government.

Mr Kenyatta also revealed that the government had allocated funds to help evicted families rebuild their lives as well as schools and other social amenities.

The announcement was however received with stiff opposition from politicians allied to Nasa.

TITLE DEEDS
Terming the Mau a grave concern, Chama Cha Mashinani national secretary general Meitamei Ololdapash, Narok North MP Moitalel ole Kenta and ODM gubernatorial candidate Joseph Tiampati said lifting the caveat was a recipe for unnecessary conflicts among communities living in the area.

“Jubilee is at it again, legitimising illegal title deeds through roadside declarations. The Mau should never be used as a political tool, we take this seriously,” Mr Ololdapash, a Maasai land activist and a candidate for the Narok North parliamentary seat, said.

OWNERS
About 40,000 families live in the Mau complex, an estimated 20,000 in the Maasai Mau section, which is under the management of the Narok County government.

Statistics from the Mau Task Force indicate that only about 7,000 families in the Maasai Mau are genuine claimants because they own genuine title deeds.

The President’s directive to the Agricultural Finance Corporation (AFC) to release title deeds to farmers in Narok, Kajiado and Baringo was however received positively by the locals.

The waiver was brokered by Narok Governor Samuel Tunai on behalf of wheat, barley and livestock farmers who took loans from the agricultural corporation but were unable to pay.

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